Nov. 12, 2011
By Megan Roehm
As a starting running back for the University of Cincinnati football team, senior Isaiah Pead has been making a name for himself for the last four years. In his final season at UC, Pead has gone above and beyond all expectations, as he is now considered the top back on the team – as well as one of the best in the nation.
Pead has been named BIG EAST Player of the Week numerous times and, among other awards, is on the watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given to the best running back in the country. Though Pead has just recently begun receiving national attention, his success on the football field goes all the way back to his high school days at Eastmoor Academy in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Here, Pead was a four-year letterwinner at running back and defensive back, earned the Ohio Division III Player of the Year award after rushing for 2,204 yards and scored 39 touchdowns as a senior and concluded his prep career with 4,443 rushing yards and 63 touchdowns. Pead was Eastmoor Academy's all-time rushing leader, surpassing two-time Heisman Trophy Winner Archie Griffin.
There is no denying the immense amount of talent that Pead presents on the field, but he describes himself as his “own worst critic” and he pays more attention to how he can improve than he does to what he has done thus far in his career.
“I didn’t even know until I actually broke Archie Griffin’s record and they stopped the game and announced it and everything,” Pead said. “At that point, of course I was excited; it was a good feeling, but I had to put that behind me because I can’t just hang my hat on that forever. I just have to keep grinding and doing what I’m doing and being perfect, really.”
While many fans see him to be doing just that, a humble Pead believes there is always room for improvement and has been working to do more for the team this season.
“I could be playing a little better,” Pead said. “I always feel like I could be playing better. There are a few things I need to correct; small details that could be a big difference in a game.”
Pead has become more successful as the years go on, but constantly gives himself more goals to work towards, accomplishing every single one along the way.
“As a freshman, I wanted to come in and start, then I wanted to make an impact on the team and after that I wanted to make an impact in the nation,” Pead said. “After that, I just think, ‘what’s next?’”
While Pead is accomplishing what most athletes strive for as individuals, what he loves most about the game is that he can work, achieve goals and celebrate with his team whom he considers his family.
“I’m a team-oriented type of person,” he said. “It’s nice to get individual accolades, but there is no better feeling than celebrating a team accolade, a team reward or a team victory.” It’s more fun because you have all your best friends on the field.”
Isaiah Pead is a team player, a hard worker and a talented athlete that Bearcat fans will appreciate for many years to come. His positive attitude along with a lot of experience and hard work is what makes Pead such an important part of this team. A self-proclaimed “knucklehead” at one point in his life, Pead said he’s made some mistakes, but being a student-athlete has matured him and helped him to grow up. Now, he is a leader and a mentor to the other players on and off the field and is willingly to take on that role.
“I give the younger guys examples and tell them my stories,” he said. I’ve been through every disciplinary workout and ‘run this many laps.’ I’ve been through it all. They are either going to learn from hearing about it or they’ll experience it, but they are going to learn regardless.”
Pead believes that if you want to be the best, you have to practice like it, play like it, travel like it and carry yourself like you’re the best, and he preaches this to the team as well. But on top of his advice as a player, Pead also has some brotherly advice for his teammates.
“I’m the first person the younger guys call when something happens whether it’s about school or girls or being homesick or mad at someone,” he said. You have to be that voice if that’s the role that is brought upon you.”
Pead seems to have it all together and knows what it takes to be successful, but he still knows his weaknesses as a student-athlete.
“Time management,” he said. “Your whole life is scheduled, from camps to what you do during the week to games and doing everything in a timely manner. Time management and trying to conduct yourself knowing someone is always watching you is tough.”
But even still, Pead knows how to handle himself and knows that it all comes with the honor of being an athlete. He describes his senior year as “bittersweet”—ready to move on to the next stage of his life, but not so ready to see his college football years come to an end.
So what comes next for such a talented and poised college athlete?
“Of course I want to continue playing football,” Pead said. “I’ve been doing this since I was eight-years-old, so all I know is football and school. Hopefully I can play football for as long as possible and then whatever happens, happens.”